Electric cars consume significantly more fuel in winter, while a diesel engine hardly needs any more fuel. What scientists found out exactly and why the electric car is ultimately more efficient.

Anyone who makes calls with their smartphone in winter knows the problem: the battery runs out of juice much faster than usual and the phone stays dark. The battery of an electric car is much more complex and has a temperature management system, but the bottom line is that for the electric car in winter, it doesn’t last as long as it does in warm temperatures.

The Wismar University of Applied Sciences has now determined exactly how big the difference is in a comparison that was reported by the magazine “Auto Verkehr”. A VW ID.3 served as the test car. “The car was driven for a whole year and achieved a test mileage of 30,594 km,” reports the magazine. A Golf TDI served as a comparison vehicle. The result:

However, the amount of energy consumed by the diesel engine already shows that the combustion engine Golf is ultimately significantly less efficient than its electric counterpart: calculated over the whole year, the combustion engine requires around 3.5 times more energy than the electric vehicle. The thermal losses are much higher. “From an energy point of view, the ID.3 emerges from this comparison as the clear winner, without having to accept any significant restrictions in daily driving,” says electrical engineering professor Ansgar Wego, head of the test series.

Nevertheless: In winter, e-cars are still quite sensitive to the cold and lose range, despite improved battery management and heat pumps. It simply costs a lot of battery energy to keep the car warm. With the combustion engine, the heater runs by converting the heat from the engine with the heated cooling water into thermal heat. However, efficient diesel engines in particular take a long time to warm up enough. If you want to have the heating output faster, you need an electric auxiliary heater.

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